Kolohe Andino injured, withdraws from upcoming surf contests

Kolohe Andino. of San Clemente, suffered an ankle injury that will keep him out of the next four surf competitions in Australia. (Photo by MICHAEL GOULDING, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER/SCNG)

Kolohe Andino, a San Clemente surfer slotted to compete in the sport’s Olympic debut later this summer, has withdrawn from upcoming events because of an injury.

Andino, who just celebrated his 27th birthday on Monday, re-injured an ankle he sprained in February.  It was aggravated following his release from the mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine in Australia prior to a series of surf events planned there, a World Surf League announcement on Tuesday, March 25, said.

That means Andino won’t be surfing in the next four WSL championship events being held at Newcastle, Narrabeen, Margaret River and Rottnest Island. The window for the first event, the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup, is scheduled to start April 1.

It’s unclear if Andino will be back in time for the Oi Rio Pro in Brazil scheduled for mid-June. The Olympics kick off not long after, with the surfing competition scheduled for late July.

“Sorry to have to message this today, but I’m officially withdrawing from the four-event Australian leg of the WSL Championship Tour,” Andino shared in a written statement, released by WSL.

Andino will be replaced by Australian surfer Matt Banting at the first event in Newcastle.

“It’s a hard one to deal with, but I appreciate everyone’s support and I’ll look to get back in the water as soon as possible,” Andino wrote. “Good luck to everyone competing in Australia. I’ll be watching.”

Andino is one of two American male qualifiers for surfing’s Olympic debut, which was supposed to happen last year but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to the two female qualifiers, Carissa Moore, of Hawaii, and Florida-turned-San Clemente-transplant Caroline Marks, the other male surfer on Team USA is Hawaiian John John Florence.

The alternate if one of the male team members can’t compete? Kelly Slater.

Greg Cruse, CEO of USA Surfing, said he knows Andino had his eye on the world title, but with it being a shortened year already, missing events will make that goal more difficult.

Cruse said the type of injury Andino sustained should be able to recover in a couple of months. “Kolohe shouldn’t have any issue getting back to elite form before the Olympics.”

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